Different Ways To Track Volunteer Time Through COVID | Track It Forward

Different Ways to Track Volunteer Time While Remaining COVID-Cautious

Last updated by Kasey Murphy on 03/17/2021

Volunteer time tracking and volunteer management tools are excellent tools to help volunteer programs track their volunteers and run reports on their hours. Volunteer time tracking solutions like Track It Forward help track volunteer time in a variety of ways. 

Some time tracking solutions coerce a workflow for tracking volunteer hours or a check-in process to volunteer program events. But, Track It Forward has created multiple ways for organizations to track volunteer time, some even without volunteers having to do any of the work! 

Multiple volunteer time tracking methods have come in handy with COVID-19. Time tracking software usually involves check-in processes that are in lines of people or requiring people to use the same paper, pencil, or mobile device to log in and out of events. Post-pandemic, these check-in processes will simply not work. 

It is time to consider COVID-cautious time tracking methods with limited exposure to other people and potential germs. Track It Forward offers multiple time tracking tools that can be used during COVID volunteering and after the pandemic is over for volunteer programs that want to be COVID-cautious. 

Volunteer time tracking that limits exposure to coronavirus and mixing of volunteers during a check-in and check-out process is a significant investment to recruit and retain volunteers after the pandemic. 

Time Tracking Methods Organized By Workflow

Volunteers Track Their Own Hours - Using the Hour Log. Going With Pre-fill from event. 

Using the event - admins verify to log hours, organizations use the digital sign in sheet. 

admins track hours themselves
- use the check in kiosk

Time Tracking Methods With Minimum Volunteer Effort - Where Volunteers Do Not Have To Track Their Own Hours

1.Digital Sign In Sheet

The Digital Sign In Sheet was created as a time tracking solution for organizations that use an event calendar and want to have a sign in system at the volunteer event. 

The Digital Sign In Sheet works in the following ways: 

  • The event organizer enables the digital sign in sheet for their events. 

  • In the sheet, the organizer or admin opens up the Sign In Sheet under the event. 

  • Volunteers who RSVP to the event show up immediately

  • Organizers can press sign in to start the volunteer’s time and sign them into the event.

If volunteers did not sign up for the event in advance, the sign in sheet could still be used.

  • Click the sign in button under the event. 

  • Search for volunteers in the Track It Forward database 

  • If they are not there, quickly register them in the sign in sheet 

  • Then, pick the time this volunteer is checking into the event. 

Signing out Volunteers Using The Digital Sign In Sheet: 

  • Volunteers’ names appear on the sign in screen after they are signed in. 

  • Click on the volunteer name, and sign out. 

  • The volunteer’s hours are automatically logged into the Track It Forward site for the organization. 

Benefits of The Digital Sign In Sheet 

  • Everything is done in one spot - sign in, sign out, attendance sheet, RSVP list, and even volunteer registration!

  • Only one device is used, so only one person is in contact with it! To remain COVID-cautious, it would be great if an administrator was in charge of the digital sign-in sheet. 

  • The Sign In Sheet can be used on desktops, tablets, mobile phones, and laptops! 

  • Volunteers can be signed in and signed out in bulk, which allows less of a need for lines and queues when volunteers are entering a facility. 

  • No hour logging is necessary. Volunteers and Administrators do not have to log hours through timesheets or any other software. All the hours are logged automatically and ready to be used in reports! 

Using the Digital Sign In Sheet is a great way for volunteer coordinators to track volunteers by volunteer events and use their hour logs for data and reports without asking the volunteers to do anything or having to remind someone to log hours! 

The Digital Sign In Sheet is COVID-Cautious and limits volunteer exposure to coronavirus if one person operates the sign in sheets and enforces social distancing of volunteers. 

2. Event Hours Verify

Using a Track It Forward event calendar has many benefits. Using an event calendar is a great way to plan events, cap the number of volunteers signing up for an event, and have access to log volunteer hour data straight from the event calendar! 

By using the verify event hours option in the administration settings, admins can log volunteer hours by going into the event calendar and verifying the volunteers that were at the event; this will automatically put the volunteer hour data into the Track It Forward database.  

How Organizers Can Verify Event Hours 

  • In the event calendar admin settings, administrators can set up the event calendar notification settings to either remind the volunteers to log their own hours through the event calendar or to notify admins to verify the volunteer hours in order to log them.

  • Then, admins go to the event page. After an event has passed, a blue verify button will appear. 

  • The volunteer name will pop up as well as the number of hours the event lasted. You have the option to change the hours, or associate them!

  • Then, click Log and the volunteers will have their hours logged, and you can use the data however you would like! 

Benefits of Using the Event Calendar and Verifying Hours 

  • Volunteers do not have to log their hours if they do not have a motivation to!

  • Admins can set up and manage volunteer events easier. 

  • Bulk Verify saves you time when logging the volunteer hours! 

  • The event calendar is easily manageable. 

  • Hours are automatically logged under categories that the events are set-up under. This is ideal for running reports based on certain activities! 

Using the event calendar and verifying the volunteer hours is ideal for organizations that want to use an event calendar and an RSVP system. This method of tracking and logging volunteer hours is not ideal for organizations that want to register volunteers on the spot. 

Using the event calendar and verifying hours is COVID cautious in tracking volunteer hours because it is done completely digitally! There is no contact involved which limits exposure to potential coronavirus germs. 

The event calendar and verifying hours method is a great way for organizations to use the event calendar and track volunteer hours digitally without having to remind volunteers to track the hours. 

3. Check In Kiosk

The Check In Kiosk is similar to the Digital Sign In Sheet, but the organization does not have to use an event calendar! So, essentially, an electronic device holds a check-in list where volunteers can sign in and out of the volunteer event. This can be a COVID cautious method of volunteer management if a protected individual is operating the Check In Kiosk. 

How the Check In Kiosk Works 

  • In Track It Forward, all volunteers have their own dashboard and log in. Volunteers can sign up and register when they do their first volunteer shift using the mobile kiosk, or if they have registered previously, they can easily find their name in the drop-down list when prompted to sign in. 

  • Then, pick an activity from a drop-down list that the admin creates. This helps organize the data in the check-in system. 

  • The Volunteer Coordinator or Manager can view the kiosk app which volunteers have signed in a list view. 

Checking out with the Check In Kiosk 

  • Then press sign out, confirm the time, and get notified of how long they were checked in. 

  • That’s all the volunteer has to do! The system does the rest. After sign out, their hours can be automatically logged in the organization’s Track It Forward site. If the activity feature has been enabled, these hours will be sorted into the activity picked in the kiosk app. 

  • If the volunteer manager would like to set up an approval process to monitor and approve the hours that a volunteer logs during the mobile check-in process, they can arrange this! This just means that after a volunteer checks out on the mobile kiosk app, their hour log will be moved to an approval queue, instead of automatically logged. 

  • After the volunteer coordinator or admin approves the hours, they will be logged accordingly!

Benefits of Using The Check In Kiosk 

  • Hours are logged automatically without volunteers having to do any work- no event signup or volunteer hour logging. 

  • The Kiosk works on many devices, so an admin or volunteer coordinator can operate the kiosk on whatever equipment they currently own. 

  • Volunteers can be registered on the spot, you can check in recurring volunteers, new volunteers, one-time volunteers, or group volunteers! 

  • The Kiosk can be used in multiple locations at the same time. 

The Check In Kiosk is COVID cautious and limits exposure by allowing one volunteer or a volunteer manager to check in all volunteers. The volunteers do not have to go into a line, use a sign-in system, or do any work prior to the event.

While The Check In Kiosk was not designed for a volunteer coordinator or a singular volunteer to operate, it can easily be adapted to be used as a COVID-cautious volunteer management method. The Check In Kiosk allows volunteer hours to be tracked automatically without volunteer effort, signing up for events, or even registered volunteers. All efforts can be tracked and reported with The Check In Kiosk. 

Least Amount of Exposure - Volunteers Track Their Own Hours 

Volunteers tracking their own hours is ideal for COVID-19 cautious volunteers. It allows volunteer management and hour logging without a physical check in system at the event, or without a volunteer coordinator having to log the hours in order to get the data. 

The only issue that occurs with volunteers tracking their own hours is that sometimes the volunteers are not motivated to do that. If a volunteer does not have a requirement to meet, or a goal set up, they may not want to track their own hours or may need constant reminding. 

It is important to consider how motivated your volunteers will be to track their volunteer hours before deciding on a volunteer time tracking method. 

But, volunteers tracking their hours is a great way to limit COVID-19 exposure between volunteers during check in and check out process. This may be a motivating factor for your volunteers to track their own hours! 

What Benefits Track It Forward Offers With All Time Tracking Solutions
No matter which COVID-Cautious Time Tracking Method you choose, Track It Forward offers a few benefits that come with using Track It Forward as your volunteer time tracking software.
All Track It Forward site owners gain an administrative dashboard that allows them to constantly update and customize the settings on their hour logs, volunteer profile settings, event calendar- or whatever feature you decide to use! 
In addition, all volunteers have a Track It Forward account where they can log hours if you choose to do that method, or where they can configure a profile to use for other methods. 
All admins are able to download reports on the hours logged at any time. All of the methods to track volunteer time go into a database that reports can be pulled from at any time. The reports can be categorized however you would like, are available in seconds, and can be exported into a file format.Since all volunteers have to register and create a Track It Forward account, they are easily contactable! Track It Forward offers bulk email and select volunteers to contact directly from the admin dashboard. 
Track It Forward offers the option to approve volunteer hours. If the admin would like to approve hours instead of having them instantly logged, there are multiple additional features that can be added to the hour log for this process.

1. Hour Logging on Desktop or Mobile App

The most basic and easy option is to have volunteers log their hours on the mobile volunteer tracking app, or on their desktop. Volunteers will have their own login and dashboard to keep track of their hours if they would like. 

If not, they can just simply log in and log their hours. Their hour log form can be customized by the admin on the Track It Forward site to create a multitude of questions that volunteers have to fill out so the hour logs can be filed into different categories for reports. 

The Volunteer Hour Log Generally Works Like This: 

  • After volunteers register with Track It Forward and the organization, they get a volunteer dashboard.

  • From the volunteer dashboard, they click log hours under the organization name. 

  • Then, volunteers fill out the hour log form with all of the information that the administrator has set up for them to fill out. 

  • If an approval queue is set up, the hour log will go straight into that. If not, the hour will be logged! 

  • Volunteers can easily edit their hours in the dashboard under their timesheet.

  • This whole process can also be done on the mobile app, or in offline mode

Benefits of Volunteers Logging Their Own Hours: 

  • Hours can be logged exactly how the coordinator wishes.

  • Volunteers can easily edit their hours themselves if they know it is a mistake.

  • The process allows extra features like milestones to be used. 

  • The mobile app for logging hours is extremely friendly. 

Volunteers logging their own hours is extremely COVID-cautious as it avoids any sort of contact with other people or with sharing items like a sign-in sheet. Volunteers logging their own hours is also extremely helpful with virtual volunteer events or virtual meetings. Then, the hour logging can be done from anywhere! 

2. Event Calendar Pre-Fill Hour Log

If your organization would like to use events for volunteer opportunities, then this is a great option. Instead of using the verify event function as an admin, the event calendar can be set up to have volunteers log their own hours after the event.

When a volunteer RSVPs for events, the event calendar can be set up to incorporate an auto-fill hour logging. This means that when volunteers go to log their hours, they can pre-fill the hour log form from the most recent event that they RSVPd for. 

How Volunteers Can Pre-Fill Hour Logs 

  • After a volunteer RSVPs to an event, the event should be configured by the admin to answer the required questions on the hour log

  • Then, when a volunteer logs in to their account after the event that they RSVP’d for, the option to pre-fill out their hour log automatically pops up.

  • The hour log will fill out with the event details that were previously filled out by an admin.

  • Then, the hour log will go into the approval queue, or automatically logged! 

Benefits of Volunteers Pre-Filling the Hour Log

  • If your organization works on an event system, this is great! Volunteers can easily sign up for events and log their hours at the same time.

  • Volunteer Hour Logs will be filled out accurately according to the event, which makes reporting easier. 

  • Volunteers do not have to do put much effort into logging their hours, just logging in and the hour log fills itself out! 

Again, this method is COVID-cautious because volunteers do not have to physically do any sort of activity around others in order to check in for an event. If your volunteers already track their hours somehow or sign up for events, this digital method is a great option to combine both in one location.

There are multiple options for tracking your volunteers, the events, and the hours with Track It Forward. Volunteer time tracking should fit in easily with your workflow already, and not be a burden to your volunteers. 

In addition, if volunteer work is occurring in COVID-19 times, there needs to be extra measures taken to ensure that volunteers are protected in every aspect when it comes to possible exposure to coronavirus. Be sure that your volunteer time tracking and check in system are completely cautious towards germ exposure.